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neilgodfrey
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andrewcriddle
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Re: Why the Hellenistic era for ALL "Old Testament" books should be taken seriously

Post by andrewcriddle »

This is a comment on Neil's original post in this thread and the issues it raises about general historical methodology.
It may not be a response to Neil's position as developed in later posts.

In later posts Neil has referred to arguments that the author of the Pentateuch knew Plato et al.
I'm going to leave this aside.
a/ I am not at all convinced for reasons discussed in earlier threads and don't really want to rehash those arguments.
b/ Right or wrong this is a rather different argument that the earlier ones about general methodology. If we have solid evidence of links between Plato's works and the Pentateuch then, accepting that Plato did not know the Pentateuch, there are straightforward implications for dating the Pentateuch whatever ones general methodology.

There is an argument that the Hebrew of the Pentateuch requires a pre-Hellenistic date.
I'm going to leave this aside.
It is agreed that prima-facie the Hebrew of the Pentaeuch is much earlier than say the Hebrew of Daniel Chronicles Ben Sira but Hebrew scholars dispute how conclusive this sort of evidence is and my personal opinion is pretty much worthless.

The post is about ALL Old Testament books but I'm afraid I can't take it seriously in this form. It may be my narrow mindedness but I'm sure Nahum for example is a pre-Hellenistic work. The same goes for Deutero-Isaiah which has real implications for tradition found in the Pentateuch. I'm going to concentrate on the idea of the Pentateuch in anything remotely like its present form being a Hellenistic work.

On the one hand we have no unambiguous pre-Hellenistic evidence for the Pentateuch. (I regard Hecataeus on the Jews according to Diodorus Siculus as authentic but this is technically extremely early Hellenistic rather than pre-Hellenistic.) On the other hand things like the Elephantine papyri suggest that the Pentateuch was not central to Jewish religion in the early Persian period. This means that prima-facie we should take seriously the idea that the Pentateuch was not only redacted in the Persian or later period but effectively created then. I have serious difficulties with a Persian origin of the Penateuch but it prima-facie should be taken seriously.

The difficulty is that neither Neil or I regard the Persian period as plausibly creative in this way, hence 'Persian or later period' becomes Hellenistic period. I am unable to regard this as prima-facie plausible. Apart from anything else the creation of a work that has all the signs of a long process of development and combination of different sources almost immediately before our earliest external evidence for its existence is IMO just not how things happen. I have similar problems with the idea of the NT being created around the time of Marcion. This may be a prejudice on my part, but if so then so be it.

Andrew Criddle
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neilgodfrey
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StephenGoranson
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Re: Why the Hellenistic era for ALL "Old Testament" books should be taken seriously

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The late, great Ada Yardeni wrote (above) that the silver plaques do not prove the existence then of the Pentateuch. (Nor disprove of course.) Oddly, she wrote that "Only a discovery of biblical scrolls or even a fragment of a biblical scroll could serve as such a proof." So writing on parchment or papyrus would count, but not writing on silver? (Or on Deir 'Alla wall?) Obviously, very old books, such as Iliad, the Vedas, Avesta, etc., are older than the oldest currently extant copy. There are other types of proof.
I'm guessing that she died before commenting on Michael Langlois' dating Qumran paleo-Hebrew Bible copies to probably earlier than what NG claims we "should" think. "Should," here, btw, is oddly prescriptive for what, even he allowed, is the very latest ML-proposed and said-unlikely date ranges. Please correct me if Yardeni did comment on ML dating.
Speaking of paleo-Hebrew, I recall that PR Davies (and Rogerson) proposed redating the Siloam inscription. Can you guess in which direction? Later. Many critiques included
"The Date of the Siloam Inscription: A Rejoinder to Rogerson and Davies," Ronald S. Hendel
The Biblical Archaeologist,
Vol. 59, No. 4 (Dec., 1996), pp. 233-237
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Why the Hellenistic era for ALL "Old Testament" books should be taken seriously

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AdamKvanta
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Re: Why the Hellenistic era .... Part 2

Post by AdamKvanta »

neilgodfrey wrote: Mon Feb 19, 2024 5:24 pm Archaeology reveals

1. The archaeological evidence of pre-Hellenistic Judea-Samaria has demonstrated that major moments of biblical history are fictions. The "invasion" of Canaan by an "Israelite" ethnic group never happened.
Titus Kennedy argued in 2023 that
... archaeological excavations and analysis at Jericho appear to place the destruction of the final Bronze Age city ca. 1400 BC in a manner consistent with the account in the book of Joshua.
https://www.mdpi.com/2077-1444/14/6/796
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neilgodfrey
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AdamKvanta
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Re: Why the Hellenistic era .... Part 2

Post by AdamKvanta »

neilgodfrey wrote: Sun Feb 25, 2024 12:41 am
... In the case of Jericho, there was no trace of a settlement of any kind in the thirteenth century BeE, and the earlier Late Bronze settlement', dating to the fourteenth century BeE ...

... There was no statistically significant destruction of Canaan or mass slaughter of its inhabitants[/b] at the end of the Late Bronze Age ...
Just to clarify, the claim of Titus Kennedy is that the exodus happened in the 15th century, not in the 13th century.

I'm no expert but I think the mainstream scholars based the 13th century hypothesis of exodus on the mention of the Pi-Ramesses city in the Bible. But I think one of the arguments is that this can be explained by the process of updating names of the locations by later editors of the Torah.

And it seems to me that the other main argument of the mainstream scholars for denying the historicity of the exodus is that there should be some archaeological evidence in the Sinai. Some scholars claim that the Bible no doubt says there were 2 million Israelites who left Egypt. But Kennedy and others say that the Hebrew word translated as "thousand" has been probably mistranslated and should have been translated as "family", "group", or "troop". So the overall number of Israelites might have been just up to 100,000. Then some other scholars claim that even this smaller number should have some archaeological evidence, for example, swords. But I think swords were valuable so why would they leave them in the desert?

Titus Kennedy made this interviewer in 2022 when he presented his arguments for the historicity of the exodus in the 15th century:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_3Plj2e7FY

Bart Ehrman critically responded to Kennedy's claims in this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1h0Gf61xWLk

And to be honest, unlike Ehrman, I found the arguments of Kennedy quite solid, even though I am an atheist.
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